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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Exclamation Copyright Violation or Extortion Attempt?
    I have been accused of copyright violation by using an image for online promotional use without permission or valid license to use such image. The image, on my website and served by an Avantlink merchant's site, was obtained via the Avantlink "create product display" tool. The "owner" of this image sent me a Settlement Demand in the amount of $1000.00. They are demanding payment in addition to removal of the image from my website and gave me 10 days to do this.

    I immediately emailed the merchant 4 days ago and have received no response. Unless I receive a response from the merchant I will have no options other than referring the owner of the image to the merchant. If the merchant can produce evidence that license to use and distribute the image is valid then legal action can be avoided.

    I have posted this without mention of the merchant's name on order to get a response from the network and/or the merchant or anyone else that may be able to help. Any advise on how to handle this situation is greatly appreciated.
    ~Ernie

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Hmmm...lemme guess. Getty Images?
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  3. #3
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    Good Guess
    I'm not sure, but upon researching the company that sent the snail mail letter, I came across past cases like this that involve Getty Images and their "legal extortion" activities.
    ~Ernie

  4. #4
    What's the word? Rhia7's Avatar
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    I found two websites with advice that might help.

    If a Getty image is involved:
    Ignore Getty Settlement Demand Letter? Do I have to pay?

    General advice:
    What to Do If You're Accused of Copyright Infringement - iCopyright
    ~Rhia7 -- Remember the 7
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  6. #5
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    We covered this topic a while ago:
    http://www.abestweb.com/forums/busin...er-148440.html

    As a victim of photo theft (pay $1k/mo for mine), I'm a supporter of Getty's letters - the problem is that many templates are sold with embedded stock photography that hasn't been licensed. Is it the designers fault for including unlicensed images or the publishers fault for not replacing the images with licensed versions? It's all debatable.

    (I see much of my own opinion hasn't changed, lol).

    The "owner" of this image - is it an agency.. can you research their name to see if it's a valid source..? Company name, whois, personal..?

    Otherwise, I would send the letter to the network.

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  8. #6
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    The image was originally obtained be creating a product display at Avantlink. I checked the product display tool yesterday and the image is still current and is being served from the merchant's website. Maybe the merchant purchased a license for the image and it expired. Maybe the merchant hired someone to develop their website or used a purchased template that contained the image from another source. I don't know. Too bad the merchant is non-responsive. I am an affiliate of over 500 merchants and display their images/links on my website. Makes me wonder how many other images are not owned by the merchant.
    ~Ernie

  9. #7
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    The letter I received looks just like the one that Getty Images sends out. I noticed that they do not prove that they own the image. They also don't prove to me that any damages occurred. I wrote them a letter demanding proof of their ownership and copyright registration of the image as well as proof as to damages incurred by them. I gave them the same 10 days to respond that they gave me. If they don't respond in 10 days I consider the matter resolved.
    ~Ernie

  10. #8
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    Excellent response, Ernie!

    Keep us posted how this turns out...

  11. #9
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    I'll keep you posted. Just wanted everyone to know that affiliates may be getting un-licensed, copyrighted image links from their merchants. In my case it was an image of a yucky looking plate of short ribs with the text "Pork & Beef Gourmet Dinners". Maybe some of you may recognize this or similar food product links. (hint)
    ~Ernie

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  13. #10
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Ernie, if you want to email me with the details (merchant and banner ad unit) I can reach out to them, GM (gmarcoccia@avantlink.com)


  14. #11
    ABW Ambassador erninator's Avatar
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    The letter I sent worked. No response from them. Case closed.
    ~Ernie

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  16. #12
    Affiliate Network Rep Chad-AvantLink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erninator View Post
    The letter I sent worked. No response from them. Case closed.
    Thanks for the update- glad to hear it worked out.

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